Tribune Exec Says There Are No Plans to Sell Other Papers

By: E&P Staff

The Tribune Co., which announced this week it is selling two small Connecticut newspapers, says it has no plans to sell the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun or any of its other newspapers.

“While the special committee of our board of directors continues to oversee Tribune’s exploration of strategic alternatives, we have no current plans to sell additional newspapers,” Scott Smith, president of the publishing division of the Chicago-based parent company, said in a brief statement.

On Tuesday, Tribune Co. announced it was selling The Advocate of Stamford and the Greenwich Time to Gannett Co. for $73 million in a transaction between the nation’s two largest newspaper companies. After the announcement of that sale, Dennis FitzSimons said the company had exceeded its goal of selling $500 million in “non-core assets.”

Besides the two newspapers sold to Gannett, Tribune since last summer has shed a number of assets, including television stations in Atlanta, Boston and Albany, N.Y.; 2.8 million shares of Time Warner common stock and a former Los Angeles Times printing facility.

Earlier in the week, Smith said that the two Connecticut newspapers did not fit the company’s strategic focus on larger publishing and interactive businesses, and in his most recent statement made it clear that the remaining papers do.

“Our newspapers are clear leaders in the major markets they serve, and fit our strategic focus on larger publishing and interactive businesses.”

The company, which has seen its newspaper readers — followed by advertisers — continue to migrate to the Internet, still is expected to decide this month on a possible restructuring or other move, following a six-month strategic review.

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